Before beginning with any part of our project, including wet lab work, we made sure to take all of the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of all of our team members, others in the lab, as well as everyone outside of the lab. We did this by ensuring that all of the lab work conducted remained in the Golden Lab, where we did our work, in order to ensure that all aspects of our wet lab work remained in a controlled area, unable to harm anyone.
All of the members of our team completed all lab safety documentation, online safety modules, and in-lab training before we set foot into the lab. All of this preparation took before doing any wet-lab work provided us with the proper knowledge to handle any safety situation that may arise in the lab, including potential hazardous situation. This training was crucial to complete before setting foot in the lab, in order to give us the knowledge necessary to understand the environment that we were going to be working in, allowing us to not only protect ourselves, but also everyone around us.
This training addressed the following lab safety guidelines:
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) including lab coats, closed toed shoes, safety goggles, gloves, tied back hair, etc.
- Use of safety equipment, including emergency showers and eyewash stations
- Building safety including location of fire escapes, first aid, and evacuation plans
- Waste disposal including where the waste containers were located as well as what substances should be disposed of where
- Chemical safety including where substances should be stored, and how they can be used and accessed (fume hood, flammables cabinet, etc.)
Application Safety Issues
If our project was released today, one of the biggest concerns, as expressed at multiple points throughout the project, was the potential release of the tagatose-secreting cyanobacteria into the environment. Although there is minimal risk, we still wanted to address this potential biosafety concern: we plan on using a salt-induced promoter that serves as an effective on and off switch for our entire system.